Following two consecutive defeats, albeit against the top two teams in the league, Cobham travelled away to London Cornish on Saturday (24 September) with something to prove to themselves. They certainly achieved that but in a second half performance, where they dominated in all areas of the game, they showed a confidence which, if retained, must surely create similar wins in the weeks ahead.
Ed Shelbourne made his full debut on the wing and Tom Davison returned to the pack in a squad that is showing strength in-depth given that Captain Ryan Saunders and Number 8 Jake McQuade are still nursing injuries.
Cornish are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year and had won two of their first three games but Cobham opened the scoring with a backline move that released centre James MacDonald for a converted try by Farrelly (0-7). The visitors then lost Rodman to a yellow card, while Cornish lost their scrum half to injury but, taking advantage of the extra man, substitute scrum half George Jackson tied the score with a well taken try and a Kimmins' conversion (7-7).
Davison was held up for the first of a number of near misses for Cobham but restored to fifteen, back row Porter came into the line to score under the posts (7-14). Cornish responded immediately with a Kimmins' penalty (10-14) and they would have gone into the lead but for a last minute fumble over the line. Having survived that scare, Cobham had the opportunity to extend their lead but the penalty went wide and the final ten minutes of the half saw Cobham having to withstand concerted pressure from the hosts.
Whilst Cobham had retained their lead and had enjoyed some periods of dominance they needed to get the first score of the second half; they came close when Davison released winger Ollie Horton but Cornish defended well to avoid conceding a score. However, from a successful lineout in Cobham's twenty-two, winger Shelbourne broke free and with the ball moving from wing to wing through the back line, Horton went over in the corner and Farrelly converted to open up a two-score advantage (10-21).
Cornish responded with a well taken try from their fly half Mike Edworthy that Kimmins converted to bring them within four points (17-21). Farrelly missed a penalty, but Cobham literally ran away with the game in the final quarter. First, substitute winger Taylor Burnett broke the defence for his first try, which Farelly converted from wide out (17-28). The next break came from centre Jonny Holmes who provided Horton with an opportunity to demonstrate his ball juggling skills before claiming a further converted try (17-35).
In a game where Cobham had dominated the lineout, not only when they had possession, it was fitting that the final try came from that set piece and on this occasion winger Burnett provided full back Farrelly with an opportunity to claim the five points. Farrelly finished with a 100% conversion record as the match finished 17-42; Cobham most definitely proved a point, in fact they had proved 42.
Director of Rugby, Steve Pope said after the match: ''Very pleased with today's performance. All 18 lads really responded to what we asked for and across the squad all played their part in a much better team performance. Physical, direct where needed, then moving through the gears to really play some nice rugby. Both attack and defence was much improved. This was much more like the rugby we are working on delivering as a group. Really pleased for the boys against a decent opponent - our best game so far this season."
Cobham are home to third placed Amersham and Chesham this weekend (Saturday 1 October) and all support is welcomed.
Cobham 1st XV Squad:-
1. Chris Lippiatt
2. Andrew Murphy
3. Luke Bliss (Capt.)
4. Doug Rodman
5. Joe Goddard
6. Louis Porter
7. Ben Keast
8. Tom Davison
9. George Pickersgill
10. Luke Flower
11. Ollie Horton
12. Jonny Holmes
13. James MacDondald
14. Ed Shelbourne
15. Tom Farrelly
16. Ryan Aujla
Tries: MacDonald, Porter, Horton (2), Burnett, Farrelly
Conversions: Farrelly (6)